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Insurance Consumer Advocate
Robin Smith Westcott, Esq.

Robin Smith WestcottFlorida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater appointed Robin Smith Westcott to serve as the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate in July 2011 with the expectation that she be “committed to holding insurance companies accountable and to ensuring consumers get exactly what they pay for and are protected from fraud and abuse.” Meeting that challenge head-on, Westcott is a leading voice at hearings and advocacy meetings on unfair rate requests and company tactics, most recently pointing out inequities in Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s mitigation inspection program, prompting consumer-friendly improvements.

Westcott is committed to representing Florida policyholders in insurance decisions, fighting for the right balance between the need to ensure the claims-paying ability of the state’s insurance market and the need to assure that Florida consumers are charged insurance premiums that are fair and justified. As a spokesperson for Florida consumers, Westcott has:

  • Spotlighted a new, troubling trend of homeowners’ insurance companies using credit information after a claim has been reported to accuse policyholders of misrepresentation on applications, sometimes after collecting premiums for years.
  • » In a letter to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, Westcott said the tactic should be considered an unfair trade practice because it puts consumers in a precarious position and threatens homeowners’ financial stability.

  • Fought for consumer-focused protections and improvements to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
  • » Pushed for improved communication and information for policyholders and reinstatement of mitigation credits improperly removed through Citizens’ mitigation inspection program.

  • » Advocated for a more thorough review of proposed depopulation plans.

  • » Fought against higher rates for new policyholders.

  • » Provided analysis demonstrating that higher savings should be generated from the sinkhole portion of rates due to the reforms of Senate Bill 408.

  • » Educated regulators and policyholders on the growing adequacy of Citizens’ rates and encouraged policyholders to shop the private sector for coverage.

  • Identified needed reforms to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) program.

  • » Assembled a working group to pinpoint needed reforms to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection program. The working group’s well-documented report was released in December 2011, and many of the report’s findings are reflected in legislation that passed in 2012.

  • » Provided key input to actuaries contracted by the Office of Insurance Regulation to study the effects of PIP reform legislation on premiums, resulting in greater estimated savings for auto insurance consumers.

  • Closed loopholes allowing workers compensation fraud in the construction industry.

  • » Co-chaired the Money Service Business Workers’ Comp Fraud Work Group, whose research assisted in the successful passage of strong legislation improving investigation and prosecution of workers’ compensation premium fraud.

  • Advocated on behalf of consumers regarding force-placed lender coverage.
  • » Testified before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners against questionable practices by the banking industry to place homeowners in costly policies.

  • Cautioned the Legislature on changes to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

  • » Studied and outlined the factors that impact insurance rates for Florida consumers due to changes to the state’s Catastrophe Fund coverage and offered key steps to reduce exposure and thus costs to consumers.

  • Advocated on behalf of seniors for protections in law requiring disclosures on annuity sales.
  • » Argued for the need to provide clear and accurate information to Florida’s seniors regarding insurance products and to maintain Florida’s place as a leader among states in seeking to adopt meaningful legislation for our senior population.

Westcott began her career in 1993 with the Florida Department of Insurance, Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation. She served with the department until 2001, when she entered private practice. Westcott returned to the public sector in 2002 with the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, where she served as Assistant General Counsel and Counsel to the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2004, she returned to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Office of Insurance Regulation, serving in various leadership roles including Director of Property and Casualty Financial Oversight and Acting Deputy Commissioner of Property and Casualty before being appointed as the Insurance Consumer Advocate. Westcott also served as the Executive Director of the Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force.